Thursday, April 10, 2014

Faelorehn by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson



Title: Faelorehn
Author: Jenna Elizabeth Johnson
Series: The Otherworld Trilogy (book one)
Publisher: Indie Ink
Publication Date: April 21 2012
Source: Netgalley

 Goodreads Summary: I never heard him come after me and even as I climbed the slope and stumbled onto our shaded back lawn, I didn’t look back. It was like the day the gnomes chased me all over again, but this time I was not escaping some horrible little creatures, I was fleeing from an incredibly good-looking guy who could very well understand me completely. I was either saving myself from that serial killer I always imagined lived down in the swamp, or I had finally gone over the deep end . . .

Meghan Elam has been strange her entire life: her eyes have this odd habit of changing color and she sees and hears things no one else does. When the visions and voices in her head start to get worse, she is convinced that her parents will want to drag her off to another psychiatrist. That is, until the mysterious Cade MacRoich shows up out of nowhere with an explanation of his own.

Cade brings her news of another realm where goblins and gnomes are the norm, a place where whispering spirits exist in the very earth, and a world where Meghan just might find the answers she has always sought.

My Thoughts: Lately in the world of Young Adult literature, paranormal has been a big thing, however, most authors don't pick a particular mythology to restrict their paranormalcy to, instead they utilize tons of aspects of many different myths and cultures to create their novel. This can be a little confusing when you have vampires and werewolves right along side kelpies and banshees. What I loved about Faelorehn was that Johnson picked on mythology and she stuck to it. She educated her readers through her novel, instead of picking paranormal creatures that her readers would already know. In that way she was able to completely construct her own novel and characters without worrying about creatures that already had connotations attached to them. This book was excellent and Johnson's incorporation of Celtic mythology was fantastic. 

Currently I am writing a novel which incorporates Celtic mythology and creatures. Because of that fact I really enjoyed how Johnson wrote the creatures into her story, and how Cade and Meghan had different names for them, such as gnomes vs. faelah. The reason I liked it was that Johnson didn't feel like she needed to dumb down the names of the creatures in order for her audience to understand, and I really appreciated that. 

So, on to what I thought about the plot . . . 




Plot: Meghan Elam was found at the age of two wandering the streets of San Francisco alone and naked. For two years she bounced around the foster care system before being adopted by the Elams. She has five brothers, all of which are younger than her, which add a lot of color to her life. From the day she was found most people have stayed away from her because there is something "off" about her. Maybe it's the way that her eyes, which change color, are slightly too slanted, or that fact that she hears voices, and sees strange things watching her. She proclaims herself crazy, and often refers to how she has really gone off the deep end. That said, she does have friends, albeit they're the school outcasts, but they are still friends.
         Everything in her life changes when she wakes up from a dream to find that she has sleep walked into the swamp behind her family's house. She turns to go home when large black carcass like hounds surround her intent on tearing her apart. She is saved by a large white dog and a young man, who afterwards makes her think the encounter is a dream and takes her home. It's not until a week later that she learns it wasn't a dream and that the man's name is Cade MacRoich. He believes she, like him is a Faelorehn, one of the immortal fae from the Otherworld. It explains why she hears voices and gets attacked by terrifying creatures of death. 
       Throughout the next few months Meghan learns more about the Celtic Otherworld and is trained by Cade to defend herself against the demons. However just as Meghan starts to settle in to her new knowledge and life she is attacked by a giant raven - the symbol of the Morrigan, Celtic goddess of death. But that's not all, Meghan appears to have some from of telekinesis, and she's falling for Cade, hard.

I really loved the character of Fergus. I think it was because he wasn't just a dog, or Cade's weakness or something inferior. Instead he was Cade's equal and guide, canines play an important role in Celtic mythology and I was glad that Johnson utilized that in her novel.

One of my favorite scenes was just after Meghan arrived in the Otherworld. Immediately it is clear that the Otherworld is not fairyland. The goddess of death calls upon her creatures of darkness to destroy Meghan and they come, crawling out of the ground slowly approaching their victim. The best things about these creatures? The reader can't identify them as any specific monster, they're too grotesque. My favorite part about this scene is that Cade doesn't appear and fight off the creatures before they can reach Meghan. He doesn't appear in the nick of time to save the girl who is completely defenseless. Megan does not leave the situation Scot-free. The creatures reach her and begin to tear her apart, but even as they do so she doesn't lose her senses, she grabs the nearest rock she can reach and chucks it at the Morrigan hoping to break her concentration and thus her hold over the monsters. I loved how Johnson painted Meghan as an intelligent person who could still think logically under pressure. It's just as Meghan is losing consciousness that Cade finally arrives, Fergus in tow. And as the world goes black around her Meghan watches Cade transform. But, into what? I DON'T KNOW, BUT THE MORRIGAN IS AFRAID OF HIM! GAHHHHH!!!!! I REALLY WANT HIM TO BE CUCHULAINN BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!!!!! Okay, calming down. So Meghan wakes up in a human hospital with a broken leg and severe bruising, but she's alive. That was another thing I really liked about this book, when Meghan gets injured she doesn't stay in the Otherworld, or even get healed by magic, instead she gets sent home, because some injuries are serious and can't just be healed in the blink of an eye. 
So, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes their paranormal with a hint of organization, and I am super excited to read the next book in the series! Congratulations Johnson, you've got my stamp of approval! :)

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